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Horology 2015

Best of times Horology special featuring old hands and new faces, plus masters, crafters and complications Future-proof bidding • Reno’s crazy aviation races • The pros of pre-owned • Recreating the New York minute

Our quest for perfection. Senator Chronograph

Senator Chronograph. Start. Stop. Fly-Back. The manufactory’s in-house designers and construction engineers have successfully integrated a unique combination of features: central stop seconds hand, 30 minute and 12 hour counters with flyback mechanism;

small seconds counter; and Glashßtte Original’s compelling Panorama Date display. Featuring an exceptional 70 hour power reserve, this new masterpiece makes time a true pleasure.


w w find your ne arest stockist on 0800 111 4116 watch featured subject to stock availability

Welcome to Brummell Buckle up for our dedicated horology edition, exploring the universe of watches, its latest creations and innovations. We meet auctioneers, retailers, craftsmen, designers and specialists who talk passionately about how they spend their hours; go sailing with the skipper of the America’s Cup Team Oracle, who needed to learn to fly in order to helm the new-generation yacht; and travel to Reno for a series of heartstopping, high-octane, wacky air races. Elsewhere, music hits a high note with collections inspired by the greats, featuring fine-tuned watches honouring a century since Sinatra’s birth and 80 years of Elvis. Cartier’s new flying tourbillon propels the house, known for its sybaritic luxury, into the highest echelons of horology; Hermès’s latest designs prove that, in the right hands, less is so much more; and Tiffany & Co, which coined the ‘New York

minute’, has raided its archives and reimagined the watch FDR wore to the momentous Yalta Conference. We investigate the difference between vintage and pre-owned timepieces, and talk to the co-founder of a company that excels in selling them both online and in store. We feature elegant dress watches for men and diamond-dusted models for women, who, actor Nicole Kidman maintains, are just as interested in the inside of a watch as they are the outside. A decade-long brand ambassador for Omega, Kidman describes the importance of good timing in both her career and family life. Allow us to keep you up to the minute in all things horological, introducing new faces and reacquainting you with old hands. We hope you enjoy the issue. Joanne Glasbey, Editor



Automatic winding chronograph movement Power reserve : circa 55 hours Annual calendar 12-hour totalizer 60-minute countdown timer Chronograph flyback function Grade 5 titanium baseplate and bridges Rotor with ceramic ball bearings Special tungsten-colbolt alloy rotor weight 6-positional, variable rotor geometry With 18-carat white gold wings Balance wheel in Glucydur with 3 arms Frequency : 28 800 vph (4Hz) Moment of inertia : 4.8 mg.cm2 Case in TZP Ceramic with caseband in NTPT速 Carbon Finished and polished by hand Limited edition of 50 pieces

neomatik 1st edition: Introducing ten new watches from NOMOS Glash端tte, powered by DUW 3001, the next generation automatic movement. Ultra-thin and extremely precise. Now available at selected NOMOS retailers,, and

Contents • Brummell


Cover illustration: Daniel Clarke Show Media Brummell editorial 020 3222 0101 — Editor Joanne Glasbey Senior Art Director Dominic Murray-Bell Managing Editor Lucy Teasdale Chief Copy Editor Eirwen Oxley Green Deputy Chief Copy Editor Gill Wing Art Director Jo Murray-Bell Picture Director Juliette Hedoin Picture Editor Amy Wiggin Editorial Assistant Jemima Wilson Copy Editors Nicky Gyopari, Tanya Jackson, Katie Wyartt Creative Director Ian Pendleton Managing Director Peter Howarth — Advertising & Events Director Duncan McRae 07816 218059 — — Visit Brummell’s website for more tailor-made content: @BrummellMag

Contents 15





BEAUMONDE News Timepieces inspired by Swiss-train timing and Danish frogmen; horology honours the King and the King of Cool; Zenith’s sports watches reach new heights Exhibition The finest of fine-watch fairs returns to the Saatchi Gallery this month Ocean racing How immaculate timing landed Bremont the world’s oldest sporting trophy Design Small wonder – Hermès’s latest model is a feat of micro-mechanical engineering Archive Tiffany & Co returns to timepiece-making with collections inspired by its history












64 Colour proofing by Rhapsody, Printed by Pureprint Group, Brummell is published by Show Media Ltd. All material © Show Media Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions. The information contained in this publication is correct at the time of going to press. £5 (where sold). Reader offers are the responsibility of the organisation making the offer – Show Media accepts no liability regarding offers.



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Music The cello-playing CEO who called the tune on Raymond Weil’s new watch duet Complicated watches The Clé de Cartier Flying Tourbillon propels the house to the highest echelons Luxury retailing The one-stop watch shop that’s changing the way we buy high-end timepieces Sailing Richard Mille’s £100,000 nautical timepiece is making waves for all the right reasons After the City The man who traded in a career in bonds to launch a revival-watch company FEATURES Men’s watches Handsome, classic dress watches that add dapper detail Women’s watches Beautifully refined models rendered in the most covetable materials Pre-owned pieces Why buying second-hand needn’t mean a second-hand experience Heritage The house that has been a champion of horological equality for 100 years Aviation We meet the Breitling Jet Team as it makes its rip-roaring debut in Nevada Hand-built watches Vorsprung durch Technik: Nomos’s new Neomatik collection Profile Timely advice from the head of Bonhams European watch department Style Men’s models that are as ruggedly good-looking as they are well crafted Need to know The auctioneers with a foot in the past but an eye on the future



Remembering the King; a new landing pad for Bell & Ross; behind the scenes of Le Mans; and reclaiming New York’s rubbish

Water meter ← Having already circumnavigated the globe by bicycle in a then-world-record 175 days, James Bowthorpe’s latest challenge is similarly ambitious: he’s crafted a boat solely from rubbish scavenged from the streets of New York and he’s sailing it 315 miles down the Hudson River from its source in the wild Adirondack Mountains. Bowthorpe chose Tudor watches as his sole sponsor for the mission, as keeping track of time and synchronising a team is vital – particularly in a gorge, where phones won’t work. ‘Tudor has a history of supporting expeditions and makes products that last,’ he explained. ‘My equipment needs to be resilient, and I’ve found the Tudor North Flag watch to be just that.’ The Hudson River Project concludes in December 2015, and an expedition film by Antony Crook will be released in 2016.

Prized designs Ten years since the launch of Hublot’s Big Bang watch, last month the brand launched the first edition of the international Hublot Design Prize competition. Open to creatives under the age of 40, the inaugural award ceremony took place at Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art, with joint winners BIG-GAME, a Swiss-based product and interior-

Casper Tvbjerg

design studio, and Norwegian fine artist Daniel Rybakken awarded a prize of CHF 50,000 each.

Fit for a king ↑ Thanks to 123 years of innovative design combining American spirit with Swiss watchmaking expertise, Hamilton watches have appeared in more than 450 films to date. The 1957 Ventura model, with its shield-shaped case, was one of the brand’s first screen stars, seen on the wrist of Elvis Presley in 1961’s Blue Hawaii. To celebrate what would have been the King’s 80th birthday in January 2015, Hamilton is launching a futuristic version of the watch next year. The Ventura Elvis 80 has Hamilton’s own H-10 movement, plus an 80-hour reserve to ensure the legend stays alive. From £800;

Special operation ↑ Typically, missions undertaken by the Danish Frogman Corps, the Special Operations Force in Denmark’s navy, are top secret. However, in order to honour the commitment of its 300 past and current members, watchmaker Linde Werdelin has been commissioned to build them a commemorative watch. Made to accompany such operations as rescuing hostages from pirates off the coast of Somalia, the Oktopus Frogman can withstand extreme temperatures, great heights and depths, has optimal night-time visibility and a robust, titanium case.


Beaumonde • News See red ← Swiss Federal Railways has long been known for its precise timekeeping, and nothing is more symbolic of its punctuality than the red paddle, historically used by station managers to announce departures. So iconic is the paddle, it became the second hand of the Official Swiss Railways Clock designed by engineer Hans Hilfiker in 1944. In 1986, the Mondaine watch company took the blueprint of the clock design and created a distinctive watch collection characterised by a red second hand. To this day, inspired by the Official Swiss Railways Clock, Mondaine’s latest models are instantly recognisable. The SBB Mini Giant has no lugs, which enables it to rest closely and comfortably on the wrist. It also features the Mondaine SBB standard white dial with domed crystal magnifying-effect glass, and is available with a red or black leather, or a Milanese mesh bracelet strap. £165;

High flier Aviation and aeronautical instrumentation have always inspired the design and technology of Bell & Ross’s distinctive watches. Earlier this year, the brand opened its first standalone London store in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade. With Ready for action ↑ Zenith first launched its automatic El Primero calibre in 1969 – a world-first movement featuring an integrated chronograph equipped with a column wheel and high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. The movement has since evolved, but its tenth-of-a-second precision is still unrivalled, and, to coincide with its 150th anniversary, Zenith has launched a sporty new range of chronographs. Ideal for pilots, divers, racing drivers – indeed any thrill-seeker – the El Primero Sport is water resistant to 200m and comes with either a lamé silver-toned or slate-grey dial and a choice of three different straps. From £7,400;

photos retracing the history of the company displayed on the walls throughout, the two-storey atelier includes a reception and sales room on the ground floor, as well as a more intimate sales area on the first floor.

Life in the fast lane ↑ In 1969, TAG Heuer pushed watchmaking boundaries by creating the Monaco – the first square automatic chronograph watch with a water-resistant case. Shortly after, Steve McQueen wore it in the 1971 racing-car film Le Mans, making the Monaco an icon of speed and style. To mark the 35th anniversary of McQueen’s death, a poignant new documentary, Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans, is set for release on 20 November. Containing previously unseen footage, the film, supported by TAG Heuer, explores the impact that making Le Mans had on the life of a man who tested himself to the limit.


Beaumonde • Exhibition

Haute ticket The UK’s premier fine-watch show, SalonQP, showcases an array of faces old and new at the Saatchi Gallery this month

Chances are, as a reader of this magazine, you will already be familiar with this most anticipated of events on the horological calendar: from 12 to 14 November, SalonQP will be welcoming to the Saatchi Gallery everyone from the most expert collectors to those just bitten by the watchmaking bug. An annual affair, it is the only event in the UK where the Swiss industry’s big hitters – Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget et al – rub shoulders with the smaller, independent brands under one roof. It is a testament to SalonQP’s success that, in its seventh year (and the second since it was acquired by the Telegraph Media Group), it continues to grow – this edition sees more than 80 houses taking part. It has also extended its remit: this year, alongside an ever-increasing roster of curated exhibitions and seminars guaranteed to satiate your inner watch nerd, there will be plenty to distract even the most ardent enthusiast. Think luxury cars, boys’ toys, cocktails and music. Diversions aside, SalonQP can always be relied on to represent the breadth of watchmaking and techniques. The Gems of Time series offers a unique insight into the world of jewellery watches. It had its inaugural showing last year and makes a welcome return in 2015. An exhibition within an exhibition, held in partnership with ethical gemstone supplier Gemfields, its Art of Colour theme is explored through a showcase curated by the contributing watch editor of The Telegraph Magazine, Caragh McKay, with set design by Wallpaper editor-at-large Leila Latchin and drawings by fashion illustrator Nuno da Costa. A treasure trove of haute-joaillerie watches from leading names such as Harry Winston, Backes & Strauss and Bulgari will also be on show, and visitors will be able to sit in on insightful talks, including an ‘in-conversation-with’ session in which McKay debates the continued relevance of jewelled watches with Sasha Slater, deputy editor of Harper’s Bazaar. ‘Last year, for the first time, we explored a little-known part of the world’s most renowned high-jewellery houses: the jewelled watch,’ explains McKay. ‘This year, we will be building on that, revealing further intricacies of the fascinating collaboration between the jeweller, setter and watchmaker. Together, they create awe-inspiring jewels rooted in a craft tradition, but make them brilliantly modern by taking creative risks with artisanal techniques.’

From top Objectif Horlogerie is offering a masterclass in watchmaking; The Gems of Time exhibition returns; and the likes of Junghans will be showing off their wares

On the seminar timetable, a lesson on design from Giles Ellis, charismatic founder of Sussex’s Schofield Watch Company, is one not to miss. British horology will also be celebrated with the debut UK screening of The Watchmaker’s Apprentice, which tells the captivating story of Dr George Daniels, one of the finest exponents of the craft in the modern era. It will be followed by a Q&A session with his accomplished protégé, the eponymous apprentice Roger W Smith. Elsewhere, Switzerland’s Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie will be presenting the special exhibition Inside a Second, which explores the history and importance of the chronograph. SalonQP also offers the rare chance to see at first hand the winning timepieces from the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève – the ‘Oscars’ of the watchmaking industry. With such a plethora of brands exhibiting, there will be no shortage of show-stopping examples. The tour de force that is Montblanc’s Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama, for instance – an impressive combination of a cylindrical tourbillon and triple-time-zone indication – will be on display on the brand’s stand for those wishing to take a closer look. The independent watchmakers never fail to impress with the breadth of their design and skill. Must-sees at this year’s event include Grönefeld’s Parallax Tourbillon – an exercise in ultra-precise timekeeping by two Dutch brothers – and the Voutilainen GMR, by Finnish master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, who will be revealing a new creation at the exhibition. While the array of brands and new launches in the line-up speaks for itself, it is the opportunity to personally meet the makers and discover the passion behind the product that makes SalonQP such a one-of-a-kind event. It’s enough to leave even the most seasoned horology devotee with a renewed appreciation for the innovation and expertise of watchmaking in 2015. ●

Stéphane Adam; Ben Lister

Words: Eleanor Pryor

Ocean racing • Beaumonde


Time and tide Why America’s Cup sponsor Bremont is riding the crest of a legendary wave

ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

Words: Peter Howarth

There was a time when the America’s Cup – the oldest international sporting trophy, dating from 1851 – was a little more leisurely. ‘It’s very different from the old days. If you look at the monohulls we raced not too long ago, many of the guys were sitting around doing next to nothing. It makes you wonder, what’s the definition of a sport?’ muses Jimmy Spithill. As two-times winner of the Cup and captain of current holders Oracle Team USA (pictured above, during the 2015 qualifiers), Spithill – an Australian with a reputation for being aggressive in the water and more than a little dry out of it – is something of a sailing legend. He’s explaining that the more technical demands of boat-racing today have brought in a new type of competitor: ‘The nature of the job has shrunk the talent pool – it’s taken the age down, and certain people who were good in the old boats don’t cut it now that the physical

requirements are so high. Not only that, but you’ve got to be able to think while exhausted and still make good decisions. In life, when you make a mistake, it’s usually because you’re under pressure, but when you get to the point where you’re able to respond well in those circumstances, that’s when you have a chance of winning.’ And when you become an elite sailor. As a moderately fit landlubber, I couldn’t resist the invitation to sail on a catamaran with Spithill and his men as they trained for the start of the qualifying stages for the main event in 2017 – the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. And so it was that I found myself in Portsmouth, clinging to the back of a state-of-the-art carbonfibre AC45, while it raised itself out of the sea to ‘foil’, which is what happens when these vessels hit 15 knots (17mph). Speeding suspended on two L-shaped boards, accompanied by a whistling

sound and with the rush of the water below, is exhilarating – like flying. And by removing the drag of the water, you travel at three times the speed of the wind, which means you can hit 40–50 knots (46–57mph). ‘It’s similar to being in a plane, because you’ve got forward wings and back elevators,’ says Spithill. ‘But in terms of control, it’s more like flying a helicopter, as there are three things going on all at once, so you’re just trying to balance and anticipate.’ There’s a reason the word ‘aeronautical’ includes ‘nautical’ – planes are, after all, ships of the sky. Now, it seems, boats are planes of the sea, too. The new AC45 catamarans racing in the qualifying stages of the Cup not only hover above the waves, but also feature a solid, fixed ‘wing’ instead of a sail. This cross-pollination of technology is a happy development for Bremont,

Beaumonde • America’s Cup

We’re trying to capture the Cup’s most elegant era – that of the J-Class boats of the 1920s and 30s

Top and above America’s Cup World Series pre-event training day in Portsmouth Top right and right The Bremont Oracle 1

which is not only the official timekeeper of the 35th America’s Cup, but also the timing sponsor of Oracle Team USA. The watch house’s founders, Nick and Giles English, are keen flyers of vintage aircraft, and the company makes special-edition watches for military pilots. It has also created timepieces with Boeing – a series with ejection-seat specialists Martin-Baker and a limited-edition line containing a piece of the wing canvas of the 1903 Wright Flyer. But now the company wants to extend its passion for adventure to the high seas. As Giles English is keen to point out, the brand has legitimacy in doing so: ‘Bremont is known for its connection to aviation, but I actually trained as a naval architect and, when we were kids, Dad built a boat for us to live on, so we’ve always loved sailing.’ As his brother Nick explains, they’ve also created a number of maritime-related timepieces, including two models of a ship’s clock (with a special edition painted by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood) and the Victory, a limited-edition watch commemorating Nelson and HMS Victory, which incorporates oak and copper from the ship. Now there are two new series to celebrate the America’s Cup partnership. The first, says Giles, comprises two examples that are ‘more classical, more like dress watches. We’re trying to capture the Cup’s most elegant era – that of the J-Class boats of the 1920s and 30s.’ The second, the Oracle, is more traditional in design, explains Nick: ‘They’re very technical, very lightweight – one is made in titanium – and very robust.’ It’s the Oracle I that skipper Spithill and the boys are wearing on board for the competition, and its white face stands out against their black wetsuits. That said, it would look equally good in less extreme conditions, in which ‘just another day at the office’ doesn’t mean risking life and limb in the world’s only true extreme team sport. ● The next stages of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series – comprising four to six events, including another in Portsmouth – take place in 2016

Ian Roman



Beaumonde • Design

Lean machine A new timepiece from Hermès gives luxury a thoroughly modern tweak, proving that – in the right hands – less is so much more

Words: Josh Sims

It would, of course, take a Frenchman such as Philippe Delhotal, creative director of Hermès’ watch business La Montre, to draw a parallel between designing a watch and the art of cuisine. ‘Simple is actually very hard to pull off,’ he says. ‘If you think about the need to create an identity for a product, you have to bring in a distinctive, different element, of course – but not necessarily lots of them. It’s just like cooking – you don’t need lots of ingredients to make something that tastes really good. In fact, the result can be stronger. Less is more, as they say.’ Hermès has certainly taken that mantra to its heart with its latest timepiece, the Slim d’Hermès – the latest addition to the French luxury-goods house’s range of watches. Indeed, as well as a stripped-back dial – the kind of clock face a small child might draw, Delhotal suggests, or at least a child with a preference for Mies Van der Rohe and Louis Sullivan – just about everything else about this watch is minimalistic, too, the depth in particular. At just 2.6mm deep, that makes the Slim, well, pretty slim, and, at 39.5mm across, it’s on the daintier side for any man who likes to wear his machismo on his sleeve, or just below it. That makes it a feat of micro-mechanical engineering – and the Slim packs into its interior a tiny Vaucher Manufacture H1950 self-winding movement and a specially developed regulator,

too. More impressively, a perpetual-calendar version has been developed for Hermès by Agenhor, in which the movement has to breathe in even more. Yet, philosophically speaking, again as perhaps only a Frenchman might, the Slim d’Hermès also reflects the times, Delhotal argues. ‘Naturally, there’s something elegant about a slim watch – it’s not too much, unlike so many of the big watches that have been around in recent years,’ he says. But it’s more than that, he adds. Slim represents modern thinking: a reductionist attitude that Hermès has historically taken with many of its products, and which brings every object back to the essence of the thing, counter to the maximalist approach that dominated pre-crash times. ‘That was when luxury was more bling-bling, when newly rich people wanted to show off the fact they had money. Watch design reflected that,’ he explains, ‘and wasn’t always in good taste. But now the prevailing mindset is in wanting an object to last longer – and not being so easily recognised as a statement of luxury. Its value doesn’t necessarily have to be something you can even see on the outside.’ Although, with the Slim, it is, as long as you look close enough. But far from taking this cue as an opportunity to wax lyrical on the watch’s signature ‘H’ guilloché, its 29 jewels, rotors, base plates and the unbearable lightness of bearings,

Delhotal rather refreshingly describes the Slim as having been ‘more an exercise in style, and whether we could mix the modern and the traditional, in the way some home decoration can look good when you have both furniture that’s centuries old and very contemporary.’ And, to this end, Delhotal wanted to employ an external graphic designer to create a bespoke font for the dial. He turned out to be Philippe Apeloig, who’d designed posters for Hermès but who had never designed a watch, or any part of one. In fact, he’d never designed anything quite so small. The result, though, is striking, poised between a nod back to Hermès’ Art Deco heritage and the broken forms of something much more post-modern. The figure ‘8’ and the ‘4’ are particularly special, but all the numerals have been dematerialised – skeletonised, in a sense – that is, in a way, entirely apposite for a slim watch. ‘I knew we needed to stay away from anyone with a history in horology,’ says Delhotal. ‘We wanted someone with a fresh perspective, who didn’t live surrounded by watches all day – in fact, the whole process has made me think differently about the role of fonts in watch design. Now we’ve done this, I want to work more often with people from outside watchmaking, because they bring the difference consumers want now.’ ●

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In the lead role: John Travolta, movie legend and aviation aficionado. Guest star: the legendary North American X-15 that smashed all speed and altitude records and opened the gateway to space. Production: Breitling, the privileged partner of aviation thanks to its reliable, accurate and innovative instruments – such as the famous Chronomat, the ultimate chronograph. Welcome to a world of legends, feats and performance.


Archive • Beaumonde


Of the hour New collections from Tiffany & Co pay homage to the storied house’s New York state of mind

Words: Eleanor Pryor

Tiffany & Co’s association with jewellery – especially of the diamond persuasion – is so intrinsic, it’s all too easy to disregard its serious watchmaking pedigree, which stretches back to 1837. The most enduring symbol of this heritage is its statue of Atlas shouldering a clock. Now above the entrance to its flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue, it had been installed at Charles Lewis Tiffany’s original store, on Union Square, and was one of the first public clocks in the city. The company’s latest timepiece collection, the CT60 (its title combines the initials of its founder with the number of seconds in a ‘New York Minute’ – a phrase Tiffany lays claim to having coined) serves as a worthy reminder of its unique watchmaking tradition. It has raided its archive for its return to the horological sphere, drawing inspiration from a watch that was given to Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a birthday gift in 1945, which the president went on to wear to the monumental Yalta conference. The vintage influence is immediate – from the classic shapes to the distinctive typography on the dial – yet additional stylistic touches stop the watches from being mere pastiche, helped by the fact simple and sophisticated designs such as these are currently in vogue. The leading light of the collection is undeniably the CT60 Calendar. Imbued with the understated elegance of midcentury timepieces, and the closest aesthetically to Roosevelt’s watch, the rose-gold model features a pared-back dial with month/date calendar. A special edition limited to 60 pieces, the covetable watch has the price tag to match, at £15,400. However, the CT60 collection also impresses with its diversity, not only in suiting different budgets, but different occasions too. A pleasingly uncomplicated three-hander starts at £3,450 for a 34mm-diameter women’s timepiece and £4,275 for the 40mm-diameter men’s with added date function. You could go all-out with a rose-gold version, but the stainless steel is just as handsome. A selection of carefully considered design options

Clockwise from top The back and front of the gold watch given to Franklin D Roosevelt in 1945; the CT60; the Atlas clock above Tiffany & Co’s first store

makes the decision between blue, grey, white or brown soleil dials with contrasting gold poudré numerals all the more difficult. An assortment of chronographs, meanwhile, opens up the options for a slightly more casual watch for everyday wear. Tiffany’s other new collection, Tiffany East West, also takes inspiration from a classic piece from the 1940s: the purse watch, a beautiful contraption carried by stylish women of the day that unfolds to reveal a secret dial. Unashamedly retro, with a playful air, these timepieces have a vertical dial shrouded by a chic and distinctive rectangular case that curves to follow the wrist. Their slim silhouette is unisex in its appeal. Unlike the CT60, the East West watches are currently available only in quartz, but they really shouldn’t be overlooked – they offer a whimsical take on Art Deco, Gatsby-esque style that is quintessentially New York. ●

Beaumonde • Music

Fine tuning A watch collection inspired by musical greats strikes the right note with Raymond Weil’s cello-playing CEO

Words: Josh Sims

Is Elie Bernheim, CEO of Raymond Weil, feeling just a little bit daunted? ‘It’s a great company, though it’s strange to feel that, after working here for eight years, I’m responsible for it now – a fact of which I’m reminded every time I look in the mirror,’ he says. Bernheim is the third-generation CEO of the Swiss watchmaker – and, at 35, one of the watch industry’s youngest bosses. His grandfather established the business nearly 40 years ago, making it a relative newbie in a world in which watch houses go back centuries. Last year Bernheim took over from his father. The flexibility of being a family firm has paid dividends: ‘We can make a decision today and have it in action tomorrow, which isn’t something the big groups that dominate the industry can do,’ he notes. But Bernheim’s time playing the cello has also played its part. ‘They keep saying I should play at our 40th birthday celebrations next year, but I’ve declined that offer,’ he says. ‘That’s way too much pressure. I love lots of classical music, Saint-Saëns especially, but that doesn’t mean I particularly want to play it in public.’

Above from top The 12 marker, the only Roman numeral on the Maestro Frank Sinatra Limited Edition, highlights the singer’s birthday, while the Nabucco Gibson Limited Edition displays the iconic guitar’s logo at 12 o’clock

Quite how this musicality helps a watchmaker becomes clearer when Raymond Weil’s latest models are considered: one piece from the Nabucco line, a limited-edition tourbillon, for example, has been inspired by the cello – the movement bridges supporting the tourbillon escapement and mainspring barrel are fashioned after the instrument’s characteristic f-holes, while the hands take the shape of a bow; the watch even has four strings stretched across the dial. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, makes it a world first for instrument-inspired watches. Then there is another Nabucco, this time designed in collaboration with the electric-guitar manufacturer Gibson, with the dial encircled by six grooves that symbolise the strings on a Gibson SG Standard, as played by Eric Clapton. And if grand orchestral works or squealing riffs aren’t your thing, why not take the easy-listening route with the Maestro Frank Sinatra Limited Edition – a tie-in with Frank Sinatra Enterprises to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ol’ Blue Eyes? With hands and indices suitably colour-matched in a bright blue hue, it comes in an edition of 1,212 pieces – referencing 12 December, Sinatra’s birthday. ‘When he launched the company, my grandfather knew he would need to focus on something that would be an inspiration for the watches – you need that to make a watch different, not just a device for telling the time – and that it had to be something relevant,’ Bernheim explains. ‘Lots of brands seek inspiration in Formula One, for example, but my grandfather just wasn’t that into sport. But he loved music and could see that its diversity meant you could create different watches to appeal to different people. Sometimes the response to an idea is unexpected. The Sinatra model sold out to retailers in one day – we had people calling us up, saying we had to give them more – and I never knew just how big his name is.’ Look across Raymond Weil’s collections and the attachment to music runs deep: most have been named either after operas, such as Wagner’s Parsifal, Jasmine – a musical theme from Puccini’s Turandot – or Verdi’s aforementioned Nabucco, or after musical terms such as tango or maestro. But, while these names catch the ear, Raymond Weil’s watches are more than marketing gimmicks. Indeed, while one founding tenet of the company was to make Swiss watchmaking more accessible price-wise, this has not meant skimping on quality. In 1999, the company even launched its own research-and-development department, meaning it is able to oversee the whole watchmaking process, from first sketches to final quality control, and allowing it to claim a position as a maison horlogère and not just a manufacturer. That’s what allows it to spend years developing a watch based on the cello, and then make just 10 of them. Perhaps this is something Bernheim ponders as he flexes his own bow? ‘But I’m still young I think, and not just into classical music,’ he counters. ‘I’m a big Sinatra fan. I like Michael Bublé, too – in fact, I can play some of his songs on the cello, which for some reason my wife thinks is very funny. But if I had to pick between the two it would be Sinatra, of course.’ ●

William Gottlieb/Redferns/Getty images



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Beaumonde • Complicated watches

Key to success The newest complicated watches in the Clé de Cartier collection propel the house to the highest echelons of horology

Words: Ken Kessler

As a prestige brand, Cartier finds itself in a position most watch brands would kill for. But there are different kinds of respect, and it has been chasing a specific sort of credibility that has thus far eluded it. It has so many ‘firsts’ to its credit: some might argue the point, but the Santos and Tank are generally acknowledged as the creations that moved watches from pocket to wrist. Secondly, Cartier’s name is so admired and coveted that those aspiring to the ‘luxury lifestyle’ buy Tanks almost as the default timepiece of taste. This is a brand that shouldn’t worry about the esteem in which it is held worldwide. But Cartier wants to be regarded with the same sense of awe as those houses that produce, say, perpetual calendars. For Cartier, creating some of the world’s finest jewellery watches just isn’t enough. Simply put, in this age of Grand

From top The Clé de Cartier L’Heure Mystérieuse calibre 9981 MC movement; the technically complex Clé de Cartier Flying Tourbillon

Complications, Cartier wants to demonstrate its prowess with the hautest of horology. While this might amuse those who know watch history – it’s like Eric Clapton wondering about his guitar skills – Cartier does have a point. It employs some of the cleverest watchmakers in the industry today, but so successful are its classic models that its recent masterpieces – with intricate, radical features – are often overlooked. Cartier’s complicated watches differ from its staid rivals’ in that they are housed in a case with a new form that serves as the canvas for a multitude of new creations. What it also did was to rethink the crown, which sets the time and winds the watch. The new watch shape was crucial: the perfect square, rectangular, cushion and elongated forms are already in the Cartier catalogue, so it made the job tougher by reinventing the circular case. ‘Seamless’ must have been the mantra, because the Clé de Cartier’s case is devoid of sharp edges and all elements seem to flow into one another. But the unique element is that which provides the watch family with its name, for the crown recalls an era when pocket watches were wound by a key. The crown doesn’t stand out proud of the case – instead, it is extracted for use and returned to its flush position when not needed. Because of the case’s elegant universality, it has become the housing for a series of technically complex models. Cartier’s recently revealed Clé de Cartier L’Heure Mystérieuse owes its spirit to the clocks of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, the famous illusionist and father of modern magic. It acknowledges these early ‘mystery clocks’ – clever devices that seemed to have floating hands, with no visible connection to the movement. Now feverishly collectible, Cartier’s mystery clocks live on in this example from the company’s fine-watchmaking division – a sequel to 2013’s Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Hours. Inside is its in-house calibre 9981 MC movement with 48-hour power reserve. Hold it up to the light and look through the dial: the two hands complete their rotation with no visible attachments. They point to elongated Roman numerals of various lengths, an example of Art Deco so redolent of the era that this watch could have been a prop for William Powell in The Thin Man. Its new sibling is the Clé de Cartier Flying Tourbillon. Here, the 35mm case is made of white gold, completely diamond-set with 478 brilliantcut diamonds totalling 3.56cts. As blindingly lavish as any pavé-cased watch deserves to be, it draws the eye to the lower sector, at 6 o’clock. Here resides one of the most difficult of watch technologies ever devised. The tourbillon was developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet to offset the effects of gravity on pocket watches. It has since evolved into the ultimate statement of horological expertise. The flying tourbillon in the calibre 9452 MC movement adds a further challenge in that it is supported at only one point, giving it a visual draw not dissimilar to that of a mystery watch. This only goes to demonstrate that Cartier, in spite of its name being redolent of sybaritic luxury, is a serious watchmaker by any standards. This pair of extraordinary, complex timepieces certainly hammers home the point. ●


AN Y R E SE M B L AN CE TO T H E DA SH BOAR D O F THE E-T YPE JAGUAR IS PURELY INTENTIONAL . Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car in the world. Now two new watches pay homage to Malcolm Sayer’s ground-breaking design. The Bremont MKI and MKII have been developed in partnership with Jaguar. The dials are inspired by the E-Type’s tachometer and the winding weight is based on the car’s iconic steering wheel. You may never own the car, but the MKI and the MKII might just be the next best thing.

Luxury retailing • Beaumonde

Second to none Can a one-stop watch shop ever be a specialist in high-end timepieces? Absolutely, says the man at the helm of Watches of Switzerland

Words: Joanne Glasbey Illustration: Amy Wiggin

Brian Duffy, CEO of Aurum Holdings, is a dapper Glaswegian with a passion for watches as deep as his ardour for guitars. The privately owned Aurum, an unfamiliar name away from the financial pages, is a mighty force in the UK watch-retailing world, and Duffy is spearheading the charge. Defining itself as the country’s leading watch specialist, the company holds more than 30 per cent of the market share. ‘We have four brands, three of which have tremendous heritage, with a bias to luxury,’ he explains. ‘Watches of Switzerland, with a concentration in London and airports, is 90 years old, offering a very wide range of high-end brands; Mappin & Webb, the Crown Jeweller, is celebrating its 240th anniversary this year; and Goldsmiths, the first retailer of Rolex, is now 230 years old. The young pup of the group, Watch Shop, the online market leader we acquired last year, is eight years old. So

we’re well represented throughout the country, selling the spectrum from fashion watches to rare timepieces, through online and retailing. It makes us unique in the market.’ London has seen a wave of stand-alone watch boutiques open in the past few years, as prestige brands jostle for the best retail sites the length of Bond Street and other prime neighbourhoods. As these mono-brand stores proliferate, so Watches of Switzerland offers customers a different experience, more of a sophisticated one-stop shop in which high-end brands are presented with a sense of theatre, accompanied by independent advice, expertise – and choice – in the same space. ‘Even if you’re a brand devotee,’ Duffy says, ‘it’s always good to see what else is going on, and we have the experts to explain the latest technical innovations and craftsmanship.’ Watches of Switzerland, Duffy describes, ‘is very engaged in customer activity. We realise it’s a long process to get someone interested in purchasing an expensive timepiece. Our approach is not to be pushy, but our experts will explain, can curate collections, advise at the highest end. We organise events for enthusiasts and connoisseurs – we very much try to respond to an individual client’s wishes.’ It seems to be paying off, as return customers comprise 14 per cent of sales. And the stores continue to expand: ‘After launching our flagship on Regent Street last year, we have recently opened the second point of our golden triangle in London, right opposite Selfridges on Oxford Street. The third will open in Knightsbridge next year.’ Straddling so many brands puts the parent company in a unique situation of being able to monitor trends – such as they exist in the world


of horology. But, says Duffy, they certainly are discernible, and the overall direction for men’s watches has seen watch faces noticeably move from white to black, while blue faces are becoming more popular in the luxury market. Women’s pieces are seeing a move from square shapes to round, while cocktail and jewellery watches are increasingly popular, often bought to complement a larger, chunkier watch for daytime wear. Duffy says he has always had a big interest in wristwatches. The former CEO of Ralph Lauren EMEA claims he’s pretty typical as a watch buyer: ‘There are people who are fascinated by the mechanics. In the first instance, aesthetics is uppermost, and I like that the watch makes a statement about the wearer. For me, I like understated elegance. But I also enjoy learning about the heritage of the model and brand I’m wearing, hearing the stories. It’s also about having something close to you that represents both good looks and technical achievement. ‘Today, I’m wearing my favourite watch – Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar in a slim platinum case. It slips neatly under the cuff, and is full of amazing technical stuff. It looks right on my wrist.’ At weekends, he will be seen wearing sportier pieces: the Rolex Everose Yacht-Master is a new favourite. Turning his head right now is the Hublot Classic Fusion, and the Omega Snoopy watch is on his list of desirables. Having spent almost two years now at Aurum, Duffy says it has been a steep but highly enjoyable learning curve, and in his downtime, when he’s not riffing on one of the guitars in his collection, he’s reading about watches. ‘It’s a real labour of love,’ he adds. ●


Beaumonde • Sailing

Ship shape As handsome as it is useful, Richard Mille’s £100,000 watch for yachties is anything but plain sailing

Words: Simon de Burton

The excitement of going sailing off the Caribbean island of St Barts starts long before you get near the water. It actually begins in the air, when you suddenly realise the light aircraft you’re travelling in isn’t much narrower than the gap between the cliffs that mark the approach to Gustaf III airport (airstrip, more like), which, I’ve since learnt, was ranked by the History Channel as the third most dangerous in the world. But once on the ground, the warm breeze and welcoming locals make it easy to forget one’s recent near-death experience and marvel at the uniqueness of Saint Barthélemy, aka St Barth or St Barts. Owned by France for most of the 18th century, it was transferred to Sweden from 1784 and remained under its control for 94 years before reverting to France. The result is an unexpected mix of Swedish-style architecture, Swedish street (and airport) names, French language, French food and European currency. All this, combined with the fabulous dry-season weather that prevails from December to April – the average temperature in January is

25°C – makes the island a hit with the well-heeled and, in particular, sailing types, who converge on St Barts throughout the season to take part in its numerous regattas. Among the regular competitors is an enthusiastic yachtie named Peter Harrison, the Europe, Middle East and Africa CEO of high-end watchmaker Richard Mille. He has established the brand as the main sponsor of Les Voiles de St Barth and the similarly glamorous Les Voiles de St Tropez regattas. For Harrison, however, simply seeing the Richard Mille name flapping in the breeze on a few banners was never going to be enough. Since the firm became title sponsor in 2010, he has raced in every Les Voiles de St Barth aboard his own boats, initially a Baltic 45, Jolt 2, and, as of this year, in Sorcha, a far faster and more competitive TP52 – $750,000-worth of pure, thoroughbred racer that requires only the lightest of winds to provide thrill-a-minute sailing. Part of her monetary value lies in her 260sq m spinnaker, which has been enhanced by a £15,000

Luc Manago

For Harrison, simply seeing the Richard Mille name flapping in the breeze was never going to be enough

Sailing • Beaumonde


Opposite, from left Sorcha, with spinnaker featuring an image of the RM60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph This page Comanche, which competed in 2014’s Les Voiles de St Barth

hand-applied image of the Richard Mille RM60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph that was created especially for the event. And where better to promote a £100,000 chronograph (for that’s what it costs) than in front of some of the world’s wealthiest sailors – after all, if you’ve already spent millions on your boat, a small six-figure sum for a sailing-inspired, titanium-cased wristwatch with two time zones, a compass facility and a regatta countdown timer hardly seems extravagant, does it? In order to accommodate the multi-function movement and optimise legibility, the case of the RM60-01 Regatta measures a mammoth 50mm in diameter and is 16mm thick. However, it is exceptionally light, owing to both its case and movement being made in grade-five titanium, a material that is favoured for sailing watches because it is both difficult to scratch and entirely resistant to saltwater. To prevent the chronograph being activated accidentally as a boat rolls across the waves, the RM60-01 features a patented safety system

behind its crown. When the red arrow is displayed, the push pieces are locked; when the green arrow is displayed, the chronograph can be used. The ‘flyback’ refers to the fact that the second hand can be stopped, reset and restarted with a push of the button at the four o’clock position. The one-touch operation makes this watch easier to use on deck, and it works in conjunction with the 60-minute counter at the nine o’clock position. This comprises two counter-rotating discs: the outer one to count the minutes going up, the inner disc to count them going down, in order to monitor the regatta pre-start period. The other handy function offered by the RM60-01 is its compass facility, enabling sailors to get their bearings. The orange Universal Time Co-ordinated (UTC) arrow hand can be used both to provide a second time-zone indication and to calculate a location by being pointed towards the sun using the push-piece at the nine o’clock position. If the bezel is then turned so the UTC hand is aligned with the actual local time engraved on its circumference, the hand can be

used in conjunction with the compass points to determine direction. Such a watch is well out of my league, of course – although I’m grateful to Harrison for giving me the chance to ‘live the dream’, as they say, not only by allowing me to wear the watch but also by inviting my wife and I to become part of Sorcha’s crew for a couple of days’ serious racing. We hadn’t quite bargained for it being quite as serious as it was, however. Day one involved a nine-hour stint at sea, competing in a 63km and a 30km race, Mrs de Burton disembarking at the end with two lacerated knees and some minor facial damage. Day two found me availing myself of the excellent facilities of the island’s cottage hospital in order to have my ring finger stitched up. In both cases, the injuries were entirely our fault. But, despite the blood and pain, we wouldn’t have missed the experience of serving as speedenhancing ballast aboard that screaming Formula One racer of the oceans for all the world and would happily sign up for it all again tomorrow. ●

After the City • Beaumonde


Rugged revival A former bond trader and antiques wheeler-dealer, Toby Sutton is now reviving a no-nonsense icon of British watchmaking

Words: Alex Doak Photography: Trent McMinn

The idea for Toby Sutton’s new revival-watch company arose about seven years ago, when he was bored at the office. So bored, in fact, that he realised the City simply wasn’t for him. At 27, he’s still young – especially for the fusty world of watches – but then again, he started early. ‘My family had an antiques shop on Portobello Road, which we’d bought cheaply in the 1970s,’ says Sutton, a crisply turned-out man with teen-idol looks. ‘At seven, I was shammying old pocket watches, and by 14, I’d started to buy and sell watches at Portobello Market on my own.’ Deciding to skip university and get ahead of his contemporaries, Sutton put the market behind him and started in the Square Mile by shadowing a big bond-futures trader at the Kyte Group (now RJ O’Brien Europe), before going solo as a derivatives trader in 2007. Another stint trading oil at Zone Invest followed, in 2010, lasting a mere five months. ‘The markets had slowed down after the credit crisis, so there were fewer opportunities and intraday trading was much harder. I just knew it wasn’t for me,’ he says with a shrug. So, it was back to watches, teaming up once again with his father, Simon, and establishing an innovative new London auction house, rather grandly called Watches of Knightsbridge. The grandiosity has definitely paid off, though: the quarterly webcast sales at its Knightsbridge salon have gone from strength to strength, earning the house a reputation among the horology crowd as London’s go-to house for post-war collectibles and modern-era rarities. September’s auction garnered universal headlines for a particularly rare Rolex Triple Calendar, which sold for almost £100,000 more than its £70,000 estimate. Running four sales a year is a full-time job for Sutton, who currently divides his time between his family’s home in Copenhagen and a West London flat. But nevertheless a seed was planted during his time in the City, which is finally taking root, alongside the auction business. ‘Most trading happens in the morning,’ he recalls. ‘So I had lots of spare time to research watches online. It was then that I came up with the idea of reviving Britain’s old Dennison Watch Case Company.’ His idle afternoon web-surfing habit soon turned into concerted research. ‘As it transpired, reviving the name was easier than expected as the company was dissolved in 1967 and I could prove

no one else was intent on using it,’ he explains. ‘All I had to do was re-register the name and trademark. But the whole process has taken seven years, because I wanted to do things properly.’ Given how many ‘revivals’ of venerable watchmaking names miss the mark these days, it seems Dennison could actually be a rare slice of authenticity. The name itself dates back to 1862, when, after decades spent founding watch companies in the USA and Switzerland, with varying degrees of success, Aaron Lufkin Dennison of Maine started a business in Birmingham making watch cases, supplying the London branch of America’s Waltham brand. By its heyday in the 1930s, Dennison was ubiquitous and mass-producing ruggedly crafted cases for the likes of Rolex, Omega, Longines and Britain’s own Smiths. ‘Smiths was best known for making watch cases for explorers,’ Sutton explains. ‘Edmund

Hillary took 13 of its watches up Everest, each of them in its Dennison Aquatite case.’ (‘Rolex will say it was its Explorer that made it up there first,’ he adds, conspiratorially, ‘but that was what Hillary’s Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, wore.’) It’s been a long, hard slog sourcing his suppliers from the ‘right’ British manufacturers, but the real tipping point for Sutton was when he visited his top-candidate watchmaker (British, naturally; anonymous for now, owing to other commitments). Fifteen years earlier, the maker revealed, he had purchased several original machines from Dennison’s old technical director. ‘I’m a real believer in fate,’ he smiles. His launch watch is a no-nonsense adaptation of a 1953 Dennison Aquatite field watch, with a screw-down case and quality Swiss self-winding mechanical movement. All of which seems like a lot of bang for £2,400. ●

Auctioneers & Valuers Antiques | Jewellery | Watches

The Watch Sale Tuesday 1st December at 11am A gentleman’s yellow metal Rolex Oyster chronograph wrist watch, featuring in this monthly auction with an estimate of £35,000-55,000 0121 212 2131 | Jewellery Quarter Saleroom | 19 Augusta Street, Birmingham, B18 6JA Mayfair Office | 2nd Floor, 3 Queen Street, London W1J 5PA


Portfolio • Brummell

Watch portfolio — Impeccable timing A beautifully crafted timepiece stands out in any collection, and, over the following pages, classic men’s dress watches take centre stage. Showcasing simplicity over complexity, these models prove less is more for style that will endure. Women’s watches are also in the spotlight, and we focus on 10 precious pieces with refined designs that will stand the test of time - some with a dusting of diamonds, for when a little extra sparkle is required.


Theatre in the round Behind these simple, classic cases hide complex movements and peerless artistry. Let the drama unfold‌

Photography: Beate Sonnenberg

Men’s watches • Brummell

Opposite, from left Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time, £4,300, MONTBLANC. Toccata in stainless steel with rose-gold PVD plating, £650, RAYMOND WEIL This page Villeret One Minute Flying Tourbillon 42mm in platinum, limited to 188 pieces, £103,400, BLANCPAIN



Brummell • Men’s watches

This page Pano Reserve in stainless steel, £7,600, GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL

Opposite, from top Classique with 18ct rose-gold case and silvered-gold dial, £16,900, BREGUET. De Ville Trésor Master Co-Axial in Sedna gold, £8,730, OMEGA

Men’s watches • Brummell

Opposite, from left Rotonde de Cartier Small Complication in pink gold, £17,300, CARTIER. Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition ‘75th Anniversary’

in 18ct red gold, £15,250, IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN This page CT60 chronograph 42mm in 18ct rose gold, £12,200, TIFFANY & CO



Brummell • Men’s watches

Ref 5153J Calatrava in yellow gold, £21,260, PATEK PHILIPPE FOR STOCKIST DETAILS, SEE PAGE 74

T=me keeper.

2 SECONDS TO REMEMBER. As the clock seen on all Swiss railway stations, the Mondaine stop2go Official Swiss Railways Watch runs a little fast for 58 seconds, then stops for 2 seconds at the full minute. Mondaine 58-02 Quartz Movement, Stainless Steel Case, Sapphire Crystal, Water Resistant, individually numbered, Swiss Made – what do 2 seconds mean to you? Unmistakable face. Distinctive hands. Undeniably Swiss. The renowned Official Swiss Railways Clock skilfully reproduced as a watch. Available at selected watch specialists nationwide. For an illustrated catalogue and details of your nearest stockist telephone 0116 234 4656 or email MondaineUK



Brummell • Women’s watches

This page Altiplano 34mm in diamond-set pink gold, £28,100, PIAGET

Opposite Première in 18ct beige gold with a mother-of-pearl dial, £POA, CHANEL

Pr me eci tal ou s s

Th fro ese le m s s o p nd h o a me isti re c o fin f t ate ed he d, Ph ot be wo ele og ra a u r ld g a ph n ty y: ’ Be to s fin t tim at wo es eS e on m t w p ie ne en a t ce nb c s ’s er g wr hm ist ak er s s

Women’s watches • Brummell

Opposite Day-Date in Everose gold with rhodium dial, £15,800, ROLEX

This page, from left Midnight Diamond Stalactites Automatic in 18ct rose gold and Tahitian mother-of-pearl, bezel set with diamonds, £POA, HARRY WINSTON

Imperiale in 18ct rose gold with a mother-of-pearl dial and diamond-set indices, £10,400, CHOPARD


Women’s watches • Brummell

Opposite, from left De Ville Prestige Dewdrop in stainless steel with a diamond-dot dial, £1,975, OMEGA

VIII Montaigne in quartz, steel and mother-of-pearl with a diamond-set dial, £5,010, DIOR

This page Portofino Automatic Day & Night 37 in 18ct red gold set with diamonds, £16,750, IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN



Brummell • Women’s watches

Above, from left Classique in 18ct white gold with a mother-of-pearl dial, and bezel and lugs set with 64 diamonds, £15,100, BREGUET

Slim d’Hermès in gem-set stainless steel, £5,950, HERMÈS FOR STOCKIST DETAILS, SEE PAGE 74

Old hands A world away from the perils of vintage, the pre-owned market’s now the one to watch

Words: David Belcher Illustration: Daniel Clarke

Pre-owned pieces • Brummell


If you’re replacing parts, it’s vintage. If the watch can still be serviced, it’s pre-owned

For Lloyd Amsdon, co-founder of Watchfinder & Co, the online retailer of second-hand high-end watches, there is a measurable difference between vintage watches and the lesser known pre-owned. It is, to draw a not-so-obvious parallel, akin to buying a high-end used car, he says – one that’s been spiffed up but has all its original parts to give it that authentic hum and has been given a bit of elbow grease to make it shine again. Watchfinder’s 13-year journey has also culminated in a mash-up of the internet with the retro idea of shopping for a watch as though you were strolling along Old Bond Street. Over at Watchfinder’s City boutique, in The Royal Exchange, glass cases display dozens of old watches. A nearby iPad allows you to click on the model you’re curious about, and you’re prompted through two screens that show its details, price and history. It’s a virtual duplication of its online store, which receives 7.7 million hits each year – that’s about 21,500 a day. ‘When we looked at the landscape in 2002, there wasn’t a business for pre-owned watches,’ Amsdon says. ‘The idea of selling one’s watch back to a store or exchanging it for a better one was almost offensive to some dealers.’ What has evolved is an online outlet where a customer can peruse timepieces, whether as a collector or because, rather than amassing a collection, they simply want to own a few watches to wear for different occasions, all with the option to exchange or ‘buy up’. That’s where the used-car analogy comes in. ‘High-end cars such as Porsche and Ferrari cater to customers who want the new by trading in the old,’ Amsdon says. ‘When we looked at the watch market, we knew this model could work. We began selling second-hand watches, but not a second-hand experience.’ Watchfinder, based in Maidstone, has sold over £165m-worth of watches since it started out in September 2002. The sale of a Paul Newman Rolex Daytona the following year for £13,000 placed it on the map as a serious e-tailer. By 2005, the company was selling around 55 watches each week, and twice that the following year. It now has a stock of more than 2,000, representing about 50 brands. The website receives 7.4 million visitors a year, making it the UK’s largest seller of second-hand watches, with 87 employees and a revenue in 2014 of £36m. Every timepiece comes with a one-year warranty, and the buy-back guarantee on some stretches to 24 months. For Amsdon, the company’s success is a reflection of how the modern watch-lover shops. If you don’t want to stroll along Old Bond Street, you can ‘window-shop’ from your laptop. It’s also a reflection of the passion for pre-owned watches that, like those used cars, might reflect a simpler

time, or at least a simpler product. ‘I like the 993 Porsche, which is 20 years old,’ he says. ‘Many people prefer old watches. There are people like me who prefer Rolexes from a decade ago – something a bit lighter on the wrist.’ Throw in the convenience of the internet – ‘It’s in our DNA now: digital first,’ he notes – and a visit to one of Watchfinder’s three stores (in addition to the City’s Royal Exchange, it has boutiques in Kent and Leeds, plus a Mayfair location for private appointments), and you have the future buying model for pre-owned watches. ‘Many people think they have to invest in vintage because that’s where the gains are, but that’s a game for the experts, not the casual investor,’ he explains. ‘You can’t go out wearing a £100,000 vintage watch because you might damage it. But wear a £7,000 steel sports watch that’s, say, 30 years old, however, and you needn’t worry about lessening its resale value.’ Amsdon credits the rise in pre-owned with Watchfinder’s success; vintage, he believes, may have hit a wall. ‘Everyone knows vintage watches exist within a bubble,’ he says, adding with a laugh, ‘It’s not unlike the London housing market. Because there isn’t a Parkers Guide for watches, unlike used cars, people don’t know how to price. But we analyse the market based on data.’ And just like that old used car, part of the process is repurposing a new engine or sprucing up the interior to make it more attractive to a new owner. ‘If you’re replacing parts, it’s vintage. But if the watch can still be serviced, without diminishing its quality, then it’s pre-owned,’ he says. Watchfinder checks, services and polishes watches in its own centre before selling them on. The company counts sports and film stars among its clients, and has seen a significant increase in watches being given by brides to grooms as wedding gifts, and also in watches being purchased to mark occasions such as birthdays and promotions. ‘We’ve noted some interesting brand journeys, not just in relation to a buyer’s age, but also their circumstances,’ Amsdon explains. ‘Customers tend to gravitate towards certain brands as time goes on, but also as they make financial gains.’ He views this as more masculine behaviour. ‘In all couples, most decisions are made together,’ he says. ‘But in the past 20 years, it’s become one of the few areas in which men make the decision. We’re keen to have the conversation with women, but there’s still far more demand among men.’ And, whether online or behind the elaborate façade of The Royal Exchange, that, says Amsdon, is what makes Watchfinder’s offer so invaluable. ‘A watch can tell you a person’s life story.’ ●

Top tickers

Amsdon’s pick of the Watchfinder & Co crop

AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak 30th Anniversary City of Sails, £10,950 Designed in honour of the Audemars Piguet-sponsored yacht team Alinghi, which made history in 2003 when it won the America’s Cup in Auckland – also known as the City of Sails – on its first attempt.

BREITLING Navitimer Cosmonaute AB0210, £4,500 In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited the earth three times, and on his wrist was a bespoke Breitling Navitimer, modified to orientate Carpenter between day and night. This special edition celebrates that watch.

ROLEX Deepsea D-Blue 116660, £8,995 This limited-edition Rolex commemorates James Cameron’s record-breaking dive to the Mariana Trench. The blue-black gradient represents the sea, with ‘Deepsea’ in the same green as Cameron’s sub.

THE DEFINITION OF AN ICON The Aston Martin DB9 GT is the most elegant expression of a sports grand tourer, its DNA echoing the iconic DB GT models of its lineage. Delivering enhanced power and with subtle new touches to highlight its famously seductive styling, the DB9 GT is the ultimate incarnation, the embodiment of faultless form and formidable function, the beating heart of Aston Martin. To discover more visit



Brummell • Heritage

Women’s movement Creator of the revolutionary Ladymatic, Omega has been a champion of horological equality for more than a century

Words: Joanne Glasbey

Omega may have sent timepieces to the moon, but it has also been attentive to matters closer to home: the prestigious brand can claim a long heritage of making watches for women. But unlike some of its competitors, it has not merely shrunk the case size of its men’s collections to fit daintier wrists, but taken the time over the decades to create some distinguished pieces for females. The 20th century was a defining era for equal rights, and the history of Omega’s women’s watchmaking during that period reflects changes in both attitudes and style. In 1902, the company debuted its first wristwatch for ladies. However, even at the very beginning of the more liberal Edwardian era, it was considered unseemly, if not rude, in some circles for a woman to look at her watch, lest it suggest – heaven forfend – she was bored or uninterested, so watchmakers created pieces that looked like elegant jewellery, but hid a small timepiece inside. Omega’s women’s watches really came into their own during the 1920s, as the Art Deco movement introduced rich colours and bold,

Vincent Sandoval/WireImage/Getty Images

Heritage • Brummell

simple, architectural shapes. To complement the era’s new-found freedom and expression, the house designed a range of jewellery watches. But these weren’t just pretty faces – Omega understood that women were interested in the inside of a timepiece as much as the attractive exterior. Interestingly, 35 per cent of its advanced-movement production at this time was destined for women’s pieces. It has been observed that, in some instances, to incorporate jewellery and a tiny movement into a sleek casing, women’s watches require a finer, more delicate level of craftsmanship than men’s. An early example of Omega’s commitment to its female clientele was the Medicus watch, created in 1937. Highly readable, it was intended to be worn by nurses, and was the brand’s first wristwatch with a central seconds hand – the ideal accessory with which to check patients’ pulses. As lifestyles evolved, the advertising of women’s timepieces also changed. Even during the 1950s, campaigns were still often reliant on stereotyping and innuendo, and sometimes not even aimed at women themselves at all. In contrast, Omega’s ads embraced individuality and promoted a sense of personality, style and elegance, recognising female watch-wearers as unique and talking direct to them. In 1955, the house took its next important step towards horological equality: it launched the Ladymatic. Featuring the world’s smallest rotor-equipped automatic calibre, it was far superior to anything else that was on the market and an instant sensation. It melded striking design with advanced technology in a stellar example of beauty with brains. When Omega relaunched a contemporary iteration of the Ladymatic in 2011, it looked for a successful and confident woman to promote its charm and precision, and found the perfect partner in actor Nicole Kidman. She has been an ambassador for the brand for over a decade. In that time, she says, her relationship with the company has grown so it now feels like family, and she appreciates its support for UN Women, for which she has been a goodwill ambassador for even longer. ‘Primarily, the work I do is about preventing violence against women, championing equality and changing laws round the world,’ she explains. ‘Omega’s been influential and helpful with fundraising, always asking, “How can we combine events to shed light on these issues?” ’ Kidman acknowledges that Omega is very engaged with its female buyers: ‘It wants women to wear its watches not just because they’re elegant and functional, but because they will support our lifestyles so we can manage our time. And it knows we have as much desire for the technology and mechanics as men do.’ Precision timing is not only a crucial element of the actor’s career, but key to her personal life too. ‘My mother taught me that time is very important. Because of the work ethic I was raised with, I think punctuality is essential. I started working at the age of 14 and soon realised you couldn’t be late to a film set, because you’d get into such trouble, so I’ve always been one of those people who’s early. I’ve just worked with a director who said, “If you’re five minutes late, that’s too late.”’ This is a life lesson she is very keen to pass

Omega knows that women have as much desire for the technology and mechanics as men do


Opposite, from left A 1921 advertisement billing an Omega timepiece as ‘the watch you must have’; an advert from 1914 for five of the brand’s early-era women’s models This page Brand ambassador Nicole Kidman

Ladymatic Co-Axial in Sedna gold, £10,060

De Ville Trésor Master Co-Axial in yellow gold, £12,685

on to her children: ‘Right now, we’re teaching our little daughters to read the time, and they both have watches. It’s part of our job as parents to get them to understand that being on time is a form of respect and good manners.’ Among Omega’s other ambassadors are the model and businesswoman Cindy Crawford, the golfer Stacy Lewis and the athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill. Each of them is an interesting and inspirational woman, representing the spirit of female achievement, confidence and success that the brand seeks to embody. The house continues to celebrate women with its new dedicated website, Time For Her, which honours notable women who think outside the box. They include female scientists – literally, mothers of invention – who have come up with ideas that have changed the world for the better, and leading names in the fields of technology, space exploration, art and more – proof, if any were needed, that Omega has always been in step with the times. ●


Brummell • Aviation

Wacky races Stomach-churning aeronautics, a long history of fatalities, and a heady mix of engine oil and hotdog aromas – welcome to the high-risk, high-octane world of Reno Air Races

Words: Robin Swithinbank

As risk assessments go, Thomas Robinson’s appraisal of the Reno Air Races is anything but reassuring. ‘The only reason we’re allowed to do this,’ says the former chairman of the event’s board, ‘is because we’ve always done it. If we were to stop it for one year, the federal government might not allow us to have it back.’ Reno is home to the only head-to-head, closed-course pylon air races in the world. Planes, some of them relics of World War II, fly at 500mph, wingtip-to-wingtip, little more than 50ft off the ground. Members of the Health and Safety Executive might want to look away now. The statistics don’t offer any comfort, either. In 52 years of Reno racing, 19 pilots have died, including one just last year. Its most devastating accident was four years ago, when the pilot of the Galloping Ghost – portent klaxon – lost control and nosedived into the crowd, killing 11 and injuring 70. It’s a wonder Reno is still going. Except it’s not. Being so close to death is what keeps Reno’s heart beating. Pilots talk of a feeling

of being alive – the same feeling documented by wingsuit fliers and anyone who’s thrashed a fast car around the Nürburgring, where the annual death toll often reaches double figures. Life becomes more apparent as the chances of losing it increase. Maybe that’s the message behind the T-shirt-friendly slogan ‘Reno Air Races: you wouldn’t understand’. The Reno Air Races – or the National Championships Air Races, to give them their full name – began in 1964, assuming a mantle from the Cleveland National Air Races, which ended in 1949 after a P-51 Mustang crashed into a house. Every year since, crowds that now number 150,000 have gathered at Reno Stead Airport to look to the skies for 1940s Mustangs, Soviet-era L-39 jets and, in 2015, the Breitling Jet Team. The race format is pretty simple. Around half a dozen planes, in various classes that include biplanes, jets and sport planes, fly around a course marked out by pylons on the Nevada desert floor.

It’s like cross-country in thin air. Only much more spectacular – and with many added dangers both for pilots and crowds. Still, it is safer than it used to be. Crash investigations have brought changes. ‘There’s more regulation than there was,’ says Robinson in his bawling Nevada drawl. ‘We had to move the course further away from the spectators after 2011. It’s still a very dangerous sport, but the pilots understand the risk. And the purse is bigger now – we give away a million dollars each year.’ With entry fees nominal (around $600), most of the prize fund comes from corporate partnerships, including one with headline sponsor Breitling, whose guest I am at the event. Breitling, says Robinson, also helped the races survive after 2011, when insurance premiums rocketed from $185,000 to $2m overnight. ‘We’ve been sponsoring Reno for 16 years because it reinforces our authentic ties with the world of aviation,’ says Breitling vice president

Aviation • Brummell

Katsuhiko Tokunaga/Dact Inc

There’s a sort of naïve, turbo-charged beerand-denim, to-hell-with-it authenticity to the place

Jean-Paul Girardin. ‘We’re actively involved, keeping its spirit of adventure alive and preserving its blend of boldness and stringency, liberty and control – that little touch of madness that pushes aviation to the limits of possibility.’ As well as the racing, the skies roar with the sound of military and civilian aircraft displays, including a gravity-offending set by David Martin in his Breitling CAP 232 aerobatic plane, which he manipulates so it tumbles through the sky like a man falling down stairs. A lone F16 fighter jet blazes overhead in a display of ferocious power and control. Pity it coincides rather noisily with lunch. Out here in the desert, most of this makes sense. Engine oil and hamburgers, combat fatigues and gallons of Gatorade, and lots of ‘Gaarrrd bless ’murica’. But then the event’s sentiment for military conflict takes a bizarre turn when a small squadron of replica World War II Japanese fighter planes perform a sort of Pearl Harbor re-enactment called ‘Tora, Tora, Tora!’, the battle


Opposite The Breitling jet team making their Reno debut, 2015 This page A B-25 Mitchell on the concourse; the slogan of Reno Air Races; Breitling’s jet demonstration team kit

cry of the Japanese commander Mitsuo Fuchido after his successful mission to surprise the Americans. Accompanying this are smoke trails, explosions and an uncomfortably jingoistic voiceover describing how the attack prompted the USA to become ‘the greatest nation on earth’. But the Reno faithful lap this stuff up. There’s a sort of naïve, turbo-charged beer-and-denim, to-hell-with-it authenticity to the place. One stall sells ‘homewrecker hotdogs’, another purveys crudely laminated posters of the kind of voluptuous females, or ‘Bombshells’, you see painted on the nose of fighter planes. The backing track to all this is provided by grisly old men in their standardissue khaki shorts and ill-fitting baseball caps debating top speeds, horsepower and war. Together, these make Reno the bizarre but magnificent spectacle it is. Twinning guts with grilled-cheese sophistication, it’s intoxicating. Might even be worth the risk. ●


Brummell • Hand-built watches

Not just a pretty face Fall for Nomos’s new Neomatik collection, combining traditional Teutonic engineering with something a little more cutting-edge

Sitting in the canteen of Nomos Glashütte’s Chronometrie building, CEO Uwe Ahrendt explains how his company was one of the first watchmakers in the German town to provide such facilities for its staff. An early lunch is the order of the day – the workers are larks, because mornings are best for optimal concentration levels – although in Glashütte, deep in Saxony, there seem to be few distractions. It was here, though, in this sleepy valley, that the German watch industry was born. Today, the influence of that industry is more evident than ever – quaint houses and cobbled streets are flanked by huge factories belonging to titans such as Glashütte Original and A. Lange & Sohne, owned by conglomerates the Swatch Group and Richemont respectively, as well as a host of smaller brands. Nomos is one of a cohort of independent watchmakers, and its prestige is undeniable. Its modern, minimalist designs, influenced by Bauhaus, set it apart from its more traditional Swiss peers, but, as a manufacturer constructing and assembling 95 per cent of its movements in-house, it has the chops to rival theirs. Little surprise, then, that although founded only a quarter of a century ago, it has garnered a cult following among collectors. It has made in-roads into new markets, including the UK, and since 2011 has seen its workforce more than double. The brand has always placed a premium on its watchmaking skills. It is a member of the Deutscher

Werkbund, which was founded in 1907 to promote craftsmanship and high-tech methods that create products which are exceptional and affordable. Nomos timepieces start at £1,200 – a snip for a premium, in-house-created mechanical watch. Earlier this year, the brand revealed the results of its latest major R & D push, encapsulating three years of work and a €15m investment: the impressive DUW 3001. It set out to create a very thin, automatic movement that would incorporate the Nomos swing system and be accurate to chronometer standard while being produced in a way that maintains its value. At a svelte 3.2mm, the result certainly fits the bill.

From top The Minimatik Champagner gains its neon second hand; the Ludwig Neomatik Champagner

But it didn’t come without challenges. ‘You could say that, instead of building towers, we played hide-and-seek,’ explains Theodor Prenzel, deputy head of R & D at Nomos. ‘The construction space between the base and three-quarter plates is only 1mm high. And it’s in this space that almost all the parts – which, in other calibres are built up in modules – have to be accommodated.’ The Tangente and the Minimatik were the first models to feature the DUW 3001, but the big splash for the calibre is the new 10-piece Neomatik collection. To house the slender new movement, Nomos has updated its roster of designs, which also include the Metro, Ludwig and Orion, and introduced an element not often seen outside the realm of sporty watches: neon. In typical Nomos style, it is subtle, but eye-catching enough to elicit a second glance. One iteration has cyan highlights on a silver-plated white dial with a black strap, a second adds a flash of orange to a champagnecoloured dial set on a lighter-coloured strap – perhaps the brand’s most feminine look to date. This First Edition line ranges in price from £2,200 for a Tangente Neomatik to £2,480 for a Metro Neomatik Champagner. Although it is not limited in number, it will be available only until spring 2016. Should you find time is against you when it comes to acquiring one, however, fear not – Nomos will be revealing a successor at Baselworld. Watch this space. ●

Holger Wens

Words: Eleanor Pryor

December 2014

Lending a hand Sharing time and experience • Horology with a heart • Sowing the seeds of philanthropy Gifting accessories • Cuisine with altitude • London's hotel-restaurant renaissance • Ready-for-anything style

Horology 2014

Spring 2015

December 2014

Peak practice Adventure-holiday accessories • Driving across Australia • Riding with mustangs Rugged timepieces • Stress busting • Off-road motorbiking • Britain’s exotic breeds

Shaping up Honouring 30 inspirational women: champions of diversity • Cars of the future Hiking in the Havasu Canyon • Men’s style special: suiting and accessories for the debonair

BRUMMELL • The little black book for the City

BRUMMELL • The little black book for the City

Spring 2015

Autumn 2015

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Horology 2015

Best of times Horology special featuring old hands and new faces, plus masters, crafters and complications Future-proof bidding • Reno’s crazy aviation races • The pros of pre-owned • Recreating the New York minute

BRUMMELL • The little black book for the City

BRUMMELL • The little black book for the City

BRUMMELL • The little black book for the City

Horology 2015

Summer 2015

Bright young things Celebrating 30 City hotshots under 40 • Culinary rising stars • Catching India’s new surfing wave Creative movers and shakers • Off-market property specialists • New watch brands with pedigrees

Horology 2014

Eye on the time Watch special featuring makers, masters, mavericks and returning old faces • Usain Bolt stops the clock London auctions and boutiques • Horological philanthropy • The watch brand backing electric motor racing

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Profile • Brummell

Auction man Now at Bonhams, Jonathan Darracott’s dynamic career has always revolved around watchmaking. But what is it that makes him tick?

Words: Simon de Burton Illustration: Sam Green

The head of Bonhams’ European watch department since April this year, Jonathan Darracott is a rarity in the world of high-endwatch auctions. He’s the only specialist – or the only one we’re aware of, at least – who, as well as knowing his onions about timepieces ancient and modern, is also a fully trained and qualified watchmaker. ‘I actually set out to follow a path into jewellery design,’ he explains. ‘My mother was a jeweller and I started putting pieces together at her work bench when I was about 13. I just seemed to have a knack for it, so I decided to study for a degree in sculptural silversmithing and design.’ However, halfway through the course, he discovered a fascination for the mechanics of watchmaking and decided to learn more about the subject – ideally from the English master Dr George Daniels, who, prior to his death in 2011, was widely regarded as the greatest watchmaker of the 20th century. ‘I called him up and told him I’d heard he was looking for an apprentice,’ recalls Darracott. ‘He was famous for being very straightforward in his approach, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when he simply replied, “No” and ended the conversation after 10 seconds!’ Nonetheless, Daniels was also known for his willingness to support young talent, and he subsequently helped Darracott secure sponsorship from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers to study watchmaking at the prestigious Hackney Technical College. The institution, which is now closed, produced modern-day horology stars including Peter Speake-Marin and Stephen Forsey, co-founder of Greubel Forsey. ‘I had a wonderful time there, learning to make parts and assemble clocks and watches. It led to me being accepted on the Watches of Switzerland training and educational programme in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, after which I returned to England and worked at the bench,’ he says. But in 1993, at the age of 26, Darracott arrived at a fork in his career path when he responded to an advertisement for the post of junior specialist at Sotheby’s watch department, which was run back then by the highly respected antique-horology expert Tina Millar, who had established it during the 1960s. He would

remain at the auction house for more than 12 years. ‘It was such a revelation to work there,’ he says. ‘It was like being part of a rolling museum where, every day, I’d see something new and amazing while meeting people who were as fascinated by horology as I was. At Sotheby’s I had my first encounters with some really special pieces – I remember, for example, coming into contact with some of the original “subscription” watches produced by Abraham Louis-Breguet. I’d read about them, but now I could actually touch them.’ During his time at Sotheby’s, Darracott was responsible for the sale of a 1940s Patek Philippe perpetual-calendar wristwatch, which, at the time, was the most expensive steel watch ever auctioned. He also worked on the milestone auction of the contents of the Time Museum of Rockford, Illinois, which included the legendary Patek Philippe Supercomplication pocket watch made for Henry Graves. It famously sold for $11m in 1999 and became the most valuable timepiece in existence – a record shattered last year when it sold again, for $24m. After Sotheby’s, Darracott returned to the industry proper as director of the long-established Juvenia manufacture in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, where he was able to call on his watchmaking experience. ‘It was great to return to the manufacturing side of the business, designing watches and creating innovative movements, and it subsequently led me to become the director of after-sales for Breitling back in the UK,’ Darracott says. ‘But I missed the variety of the auction world, the personalities you meet through it, the history and the scholarship – so when the opportunity to work for Bonhams arose, I grabbed it.’ Over the years, of course, his love of horology has resulted in the creation of a large collection of his own – one he believes runs to more than 500 pieces. ‘My problem is I’ve never been able to afford the sort of watches I’d really love to buy,’ he explains. ‘Perhaps my dream watch is a Patek Philippe reference 2438 from the 1950s – a perpetual-calendar moon-phase model – but these can fetch upwards of £300,000 nowadays. ‘I prefer vintage pieces, but if I were going to buy a modern watch, it’d probably be something highly bespoke. I really admire, for example, the work of the Finnish, Swiss-based watchmaker Kari Voutilainen – his design and execution is amazing. If you ask me what my favourite watch is, though, I think I’d have to say my late father’s Longines Tuning Fork from the 1970s. It was one of the first electronic watches and I still wear it today.’ That said, Darracott is more likely to be seen sporting the timepiece he constructed as part of his Hackney Technical College course back in the 1980s – and it’s still going strong. ‘It’s a perpetual-calendar chronograph with an ETA movement and an unusual ETA dial,’ he explains. ‘I made it from bits I found lying around.’ His current project, meanwhile, involves creating a watch with a cloisonée-enamel dial depicting a miniaturisation of a painting by the Czech Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha, fired in his own kiln. Which is certainly not something many – any? – other auction-house specialists could lay claim to. ●


It’s hammer time Darracott’s best auction advice

1. Attend a sale, but with no intention of bidding. Just get a feel for what goes on – how the auctioneer works the room, how bidding increments change as prices rise and how experienced buyers ‘time’ their bids. 2. When you are ready to buy, read the sale catalogue carefully. Check the terms and conditions, and be sure you understand about ‘buyer’s premium’ and any additional taxes. 3. Attend the pre-sale view and examine any watches that interest you. Check the paperwork, try the watches on, ensure they are working and, above all, ask the auction-house specialists as many questions as possible. 4. Select the watches you’re interested in and resolve not to bid on any you haven’t researched. If you are planning to bid on a current model, check the retail price – and always look up recent prices achieved for similar watches. 5. If you are interested in a very specialised model, seek the advice of a respected expert in the field. And when looking for a watch made in several different variants, research the options thoroughly to avoid overpaying for a less desirable version. 6. When the time comes to bid, set a price limit and stick to it. Unless it’s a real rarity, avoid paying over the odds – another example will probably appear at auction in the near future. The next Bonhams London watch sale is on 16 December

Heart on your sleeve These finely crafted timepieces boast slick good looks and a robust sensibility – far too special to hide under your shirt cuff

Photography: Marius Hansen Styling: David Nolan

Style • Brummell

Opposite RM 010 Automatic in white gold on a rubber strap, £79,500, RICHARD MILLE. Single-breasted corduroy jacket, £795, KILGOUR. Textured-cotton T-shirt, £119.00, PAUL SMITH

This page Heritage Black Bay with stainless-steel strap, £2,330, TUDOR. Tweed blazer, £475, DAKS. Cotton-cashmere shirt, £350, and denim trousers (just seen), £250, both KILGOUR



Brummell • Style

This page Jaguar MKI in stainless steel, £8,450, BREMONT. Textured wool and silk jacket, £1,520, GIORGIO ARMANI

Opposite Transocean chronograph in stainless steel on a crocodile strap, £5,970, BREITLING. Single-breasted cashmere and silk blazer, £2,295, and vicuña and

Baby Cashmere cardigan, £4,740, both LORO PIANA. Wool-twill trousers, £405, PAUL SMITH. Woven leather and raffia tech pouch, £275, MULBERRY

Style • Brummell

Opposite Elite Chronograph Classic in stainless steel on an alligator strap, £6,100, ZENITH. Wool three-piece suit, POA, DOLCE & GABBANA. Cotton Marcella dress shirt, £185, BUDD

Oxford shoe in black boxcalf, £615.00, JM WESTON. Monolith onyx cufflinks, £490, DUNHILL. Cotton socks, £13, FALKE

This page BR 126 Original Black, £2,900, BELL & ROSS. Leather overcoat, £3,150, BALLY. Linen blazer, £1,195, BURBERRY PRORSUM FOR STOCKIST DETAILS, SEE PAGE 74



Brummell • Need to know

Jolly good Fellows How an auction house that started out selling bicycles became a pioneer of the digital revolution

Words: Jemima Wilson

While, for some, there’s nothing like the thrill of acquiring a rare timepiece at auction, gone are the days when a telephone representative had to bid for you if you couldn’t be there yourself. Just as digital technology has become a vital part of everyday life, it’s also starting to take an increasingly prominent role in sales, with leading auction houses looking to more innovative ways of listing and selling their lots online. One such auctioneer with future-proofing firmly in mind is Fellows. Back in 2010, the Birmingham-based company was the first in the UK to hold an online watch auction. It now has bidding platforms with live audio and video that are accessible on both desktop and mobile devices. That means anyone unable to attend one of its sales in person can still take part from wherever they are in the world, having perused its digital catalogue of contemporary commercial pieces and vintage rarities, all photographed in 360°. One of the UK’s oldest and most respected auctioneers, the company has demonstrated

entrepreneurial spirit from the start, so its commitment to innovation is no surprise. It was founded in 1876, when William Henry Fellows, whose family were pawnbrokers, found himself left with an unwanted order of bicycles and decided to auction them off. His son Francis took over in the 1920s, passing the business in turn to his own sons, William and Albert, a couple of decades later. During the brothers’ tenure, a wide variety of goods passed through Fellows’ portals, and some of the enterprising sales in this era included lost property from the Royal Mail. Three generations later, and now with a team of 70-plus employees, Fellows holds over 100 sales a year, including more specialist watch auctions than any other UK auctioneer. Its next, on 1 December, will feature a number of items of note, including a Jaeger-LeCoultre Perpetual Calendar from 1938 (above), a contemporary Jaeger-LeCoultre Ceramic Tourbillon, a Patek Philippe 5146G Annual Calendar and a diamondset high-jewellery Cartier Santos 100.

The star of the sale, however, will be a very special Rolex Oyster Chronograph 3525 – the model sent by the watch house via the International Red Cross to Allied prisoners of war incarcerated in German camps during World War II. Those original timepieces were in utilitarian steel, whereas the one listed is encased in gold. With its cream dial and contrasting blue distance-measuring telemeter scale, this iteration is perhaps more suited for sporting pursuits than for timing guard patrols. As Fellows director and horology specialist Adrian Hailwood explains, ‘Its case design gives it strength and water resistance, and its larger proportions make it very wearable.’ It will be interesting to see how the Rolex, which is estimated to sell for £35,000 to £55,000, fares under the hammer. But one thing’s certain: whether you prefer to soak up the atmosphere of the auction room or keep pace with proceedings on your digital device, you’ll miss out on none of the thrill of the sale. ●

Stockists Bally Bell & Ross Blancpain Breguet Breitling Bremont Budd Burberry Prorsum Cartier Chanel Chopard Daks Dior Dolce & Gabbana Dunhill Falke Giorgio Armani Glashütte Original Hardy Amies Harry Winston Hermès IWC Schaffhausen JM Weston Kilgour Loro Piana Mondaine Montblanc Mulberry Nomos Omega Patek Philippe Paul Smith Piaget Raymond Weil Richard Mille Rolex Tiffany & Co Tudor Vertu Watches of Switzerland Zenith

Slim d’Hermès watch in rose gold, Manufacture H1950 ultra-thin movement.


Brummell Horology 2015  

Horology special featuring old hands and new faces, plus masters, crafters and complications as well as future-proof bidding, Reno's aviatio...

Brummell Horology 2015  

Horology special featuring old hands and new faces, plus masters, crafters and complications as well as future-proof bidding, Reno's aviatio...